Indian Wrecking Crew Sweeps Flat Track Podium for 2nd Time This Season

Indian Wrecking Crew sweeps podium at 2017 Arizona Mile

The Indian Wrecking Crew (L-R) of Brad Baker, Bryan Smith and Jared Mees swept the podium for the second time this season in American Flat Track. (Ricky Fuentes Photo)

Reigning National Champion Bryan Smith Secures Second Consecutive Victory, Brad Baker & Jared Mees Finish 2nd & 3rd, Respectively

Indian Motorcycle Racing continues its dominance in American Flat Track racing with its second podium sweep of the season. Indian’s “Wrecking Crew” is living up to its legendary nickname, as Bryan Smith, Brad Baker and Jared Mees finished 1-2-3, respectively.

After two red flags, and as the sun began to set, the main event was forced to reconfigure to a five-lap shootout. Smith earned his second consecutive victory by ducking inside Baker with two laps remaining – edging him out by .057 seconds.

“My team has done an incredible job, and the Scout FTR750 is performing like nothing else I’ve ever been on,” said Smith. “The mile races are my favorite, and with four of the next five races being miles, we’re excited to keep it rolling.”

After four races this season, the Indian Scout FTR750 has secured 10 of 12 podiums. Smith and Mees are neck-in-neck at the top the American Flat Track leaderboard – having reached the podium in every race with two first place finishes, a second and a third. Baker has earned two second place finishes.

“After the long break following the Charlotte Half Mile, we were all excited to see how the guys would perform on the season’s first mile,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Product Development for Indian Motorcycle. “Their dominant success at each race is a tribute to how hard each rider and his team are preparing.”

Indian Motorcycle Racing, backed by Allstate Insurance, will look to stay on top as American Flat Track heads to the Sacramento Mile on May 20.

Bryan Smith Edges Brad Baker in Five-Lap Shootout at Arizona Mile

Shayna Texter ends win drought in an AFT Singles thriller

The Indian Wrecking Crew once again lived up to its moniker in the fourth round of the 2017 American Flat Track championship. The trio of factory riders secured a dominant sweep of the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines podium at the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle.

Leading the charge around Turf Paradise was reigning Grand National Champion Bryan Smith. Smith drew upon every last ounce of his trademark Mile magic to position his No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750 ahead of the identical No. 6 Indian Scout FTR750 of Brad Baker at the checkered flag by a scant 0.057 seconds.

Following two red flags and with the sun quickly headed to the horizon, the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event was reconfigured into a dramatic five-lap shootout. At the second and final restart, Baker again resumed his place at the front of the field and appeared well on his way to grabbing his first victory of 2017. However, Smith had other ideas, ducking down the inside at the opening of the penultimate lap and held strong from there.

Bryan Smith edges Brad Baker Arizona Mile 2017

Mile master Bryan Smith ducked under Brad Baker with two laps to go then held on for the win in a five-lap shooutout on the Arizona Mile. (American Flat Track/Mitch Friedman Photo)

“It was a little bit of strategy,” Smith said. “I just sat on Brad’s rear tire, and luckily it worked out where I got by him with two to go. I went on by him and had just enough where I was a little bit better, mostly off of (Turn) 2.”

The cagey performance was the 20th Mile victory of Smith’s career, good enough to rank fifth most in American Flat Track history. It was also his 28th overall AFT Twins win, which ties him with fellow Michigan natives Bart Markel and Henry Wiles for tenth on the all-time order.

“It’s pretty cool at 28 wins that I tied Bark Markel, the original godfather of the Michigan Mafia,” Smith said. “And it’s pretty special for me to be, I believe, the only rider to win a Mile on three different brands and tie his record. Hopefully next weekend I can break it.”

Runner-up Baker said, “I wanted that win so dang bad. I don’t think I’ve wanted a win more in my life. This type of track is one I typically struggle at – one that’s dry, slick, one-lined – where you kind of have to go slow to go fast and ride with a lot of discipline.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed and angry. But they call Bryan the “Master of the Miles,” and he’s great at this. This is definitely a heartbreaker because I was the guy to beat all day… We’re on identical equipment so it’s not like I had any more horsepower than him or he had any more horsepower than me. It was all about who was the best rider, and today, Bryan proved his experience and craft on the Miles.”

Smith now sits perfectly even on top of the AFT Twins title fight with Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) at 87 apiece. Mees retained a share of the points lead by furthering his season-long string of podium results with a close third.

Despite struggling with shifter issues, Mees managed to keep Smith and Baker honest throughout and finished just over a half-second back of the win.

“It was good for Indian Motorcycle, but we just didn’t quite have it today,” Mees said. “Honestly, we were third place all day… I was pretty much a sitting duck in third; we couldn’t really do anything. I was just grateful to get it into gear really quick off the line and kind of latch onto these guys. Brad had a helluva pace early on, but hats off to Bryan – he just put in a veteran move in on that last lap and a half and made it happen. I feel like Brad was probably the fastest, but Bryan out-schooled him.”

Thanks to the combined efforts of Smith and Mees early in 2017, the Indian Scout FTR750 has now opened its first full season of American Flat Track competition by claiming a victory in each Grand Slam discipline (TT, Short Track, Half-Mile, Mile).

Sammy Halbert continued to make his mark as the top privateer with a solid fourth-place run aboard the No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07. Halbert actually had to put in a charge just to snare the final qualifying position in the LCQ in order to advance into the Semis. But following that early scare, Halbert proved himself to be the only rider capable of reliably keeping the Indian Wrecking Crew in sight in Phoenix, even if only for a handful of laps at a time.

Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Richie Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650) completed the top five, finishing just ahead of the similarly mounted Briar Bauman (No. 14 Zanotti Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650) andJake Shoemaker (No. 55 Weirbach Racing Kawasaki USA Kawasaki Ninja 650).

Harley-Davidson’s early-season woes continued at Turf Paradise. Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) was the only rider among the firm’s trio of factory-backed talents to make the Main Event. To make matters worse, Johnson’s day then ended in a crash which brought out one of the aforementioned red flags.

Texter Takes Title Lead With AFT Singles Triumph

Shayna Texter stepped forward to seize control of the AFT Singles class with a hard-earned win aboard her No. 52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R.

Texter was hounded throughout the Main by Tristan Avery (No. 16 Ron Ayers Honda CRF450R) and Brandon Price (No. 92 DPC Racing/Don’s Kawasaki KX450F), but proved almost impossible to draft by and even more difficult to stay in front of.

Texter said, “It was a long 15 laps. I just tried to stay smooth and make as few mistakes as I possibly could. I knew those guys were on me; I could see them in my shadow going down the back stretch. I just tried to be smart and keep them behind me.”

The narrow .041 of a second win was the seventh of Texter’s AFT Singles career and her first since the 2013 season. Her 2017 campaign is trending upward in a serious fashion; she’s now logged third-, second-, and first-place finishes in consecutive events.

“It feels awesome to get back up there – it’s been a rough couple of years,” Texter admitted. “I finally get to ride a motorcycle that’s stable and allows me to show what I have under the helmet. It’s really exciting to get back up here.”

The Law Tigers Arizona Mile will air on NBCSN on Thursday, July 27, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. For race highlights click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-PAGlT4c_E

American Flat Track powers right into the second of its run of four Miles in four weeks with the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear on Saturday, May 20. Live coverage can be viewed on FansChoice.tv beginning on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. PT). Tickets for the Sacramento Mile are on sale and can be purchased at http://sactomile.com/tickets/.

Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).

Award Updates:
AFT Singles
McElroy Packaging Lucky 7 – #52 Shayna Texter
Motul Move of the Race – #52 Shayna Texter

AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Ohlins Fastest Lap – #1 Bryan Smith
McElroy Packaging Lucky 13 – #1 Bryan Smith

American Flat Track Heads West for Arizona Mile

American Flat Track heads west after a five-week break for the Arizona Mile.

(American Flat Track/Andrea Wilson Photo)

After a five-week break, American Flat Track returns with four straight Miles. Kicking off the month of action on the big tracks is the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 13.

Picking up where they left off at the Charlotte Half-Mile, the battle for the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines title resumes between rivals Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) and Bryan Smith (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750). Last year, Smith scored a dominant victory in front of a sold-out crowd at the inaugural event in Phoenix, a win that helped launch his campaign for the Grand National Championship. The champ looks to repeat that success and make history in 2017.

“I’m going to Arizona to win,” Smith said. “My team has got my Indian FTR dialed in, and I would love to give Indian their first mile track win in the modern era. Also, winning a Mile on three different brands would be a pretty cool feat for me personally.”

While it’s hard to bet against Smith on a Mile, Mees lines up against Smith on the same machinery this year. The three-time Grand National Champion looks to dethrone the Mile-specialist and score his third win of the season to expand his eight-point lead in the championship.

“After five weeks off, our season gets going again this weekend in Arizona, and then it’s non-stop racing all summer, with just a couple of weekends off,” Mees said. “Last year was our first time at the Arizona Mile and I basically got my butt kicked by Smith, who looks to be the biggest thorn in my side this season; at least so far. Both of us are on the new Indian Scout FTR750 and I’m excited to open it up on a string of miles. Kenny Tolbert and Bubba Bently have been working hard to make sure we’re as prepared as possible to keep racking up wins.”

The third member of the Indian Wrecking Crew – Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) – is eager to score his first win for the Indian Motorcycle brand. The 2013 Grand National Champion ended the 2016 season by schooling the competition on the Santa Rosa Mile. Baker looks to repeat that success and get his season back on track after some bad luck at Daytona and Charlotte.

Also eager to get their season back on track is the Harley-Davidson Factory squad, led by Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) who sits fourth in the points standings. Teammates Kenny Coolbeth (No. 2 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) are no slouches on the Mile tracks and would love to pull off the upset.

Another rider looking to spoil Indian’s win streak is Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07). Halbert, who holds third place in the championship, is motivated to score that first win on the Yamaha FZ-07.

Completing the top five in the points standings is up-and-coming rider Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Richie Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650).

AFT Singles
Control of the AFT Singles championship is up for grabs going into Arizona following Dalton Gauthier’s suspension. Poised for taking that lead is Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda CRF450R). Second in the championship, he returns with an ace up his sleeve: a championship proven team in Parkinson Brothers Racing. Trailing Carlile in the points are Ben Lowe (No. 20 Bruce Lowe Excavating Honda CRF450R) and Shayna Texter (No. 52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R).

On-track action begins with the AFT Twins and AFT Singles practice sessions at 11:00 a.m. PT (2:00 p.m. ET) with Opening Ceremonies commencing at 2:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. ET). Live coverage of the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle can be viewed on FansChoice.tv at www.fanschoice.tv/watch-live/american-flat-track. Tickets for the Arizona Mile are now on sale and can be purchased at http://www.arizonamile.com/tickets.php

Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).

How to Watch:
NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track events. All 18 rounds, from the season-opening DAYTONA TT to the American Flat Track Finals in Southern California, will air in one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts on Thursday nights throughout the summer and fall on NBCSN, while FansChoice.tv provides live streaming coverage of American Flat Track events. FansChoice.tv also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series. Catch all the action at http://www.nbcsports.com/ and http://www.FansChoice.tv.

Indian Motorcycle To Be Presenting Sponsor of Arizona Mile

American Flat Track/Brian J. Nelson Photo

Indian Motorcycle Co. has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the Arizona Mile. (American Flat Track/Brian J. Nelson Photo)

The promoters of the Law Tigers Arizona Mile are pleased to announce that one of the oldest names in motorcycles, Indian Motorcycle, will be the presenting sponsor of the event as the manufacturer storms back into national championship dirt track racing after an absence of 64 years.

Round four of the 18-round season of American Flat Track, the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle will be held on the one-mile oval at Turf Paradise on May 13. After a successful first year event, the promoter at the state-of-the-art facility is looking forward to continued success with a legendary brand headlining the event in 2017.

“Indian is not only one of the oldest names in motorcycles, it is also enjoying significant success on the racetrack in American Flat Track since its return to the sport,” noted race co-promoter Chris Morgan. “By winning the first two races of the 2017 American Flat Track schedule, Indian has already brought a heightened level of competitiveness to the series. Going wheel-to-wheel against other manufacturers who have shown that they know how to win will bring a new level of excitement to Phoenix.”

Indian Motorcycle is happy to return to a sport with so much legacy and to help support its growth.
“Since its dominance in flat track dating back to the early 1900s, racing has been a core part of Indian’s DNA,” said Reid Wilson, Marketing Director for Indian Motorcycle. “It’s an exciting return to the sport we all know and love, and we’re proud to be sponsoring these premier events.”

Indian Motorcycle, which is reviving a racing rivalry with Harley-Davidson that dates back to the turn of the century, is campaigning an all-new flat track racer – the Indian Scout FTR750.

The Minnesota-based brand will come to Phoenix with its three rider “Indian Wrecking Crew,” led by defending Phoenix race winner “Flyin” Bryan Smith, whose victory in last year’s Law Tigers Arizona Mile was his first step in the path leading him to the honor of carrying the Number One plate as flat track racing’s Grand National Champion. Joining him on the wrecking crew are Jared “The Jammer” Mees, a three-time Grand National Champion who finished in second spot last year at the Arizona Mile and who claimed Indian’s first race victory in modern times at the DAYTONA TT in February, and Brad “The Bullet” Baker, also a Grand National Champion.

At Phoenix, Indian Motorcycle will host a dedicated fan area for Indian owners and will give fans an opportunity to take dealer rides and enter to win a new Indian Scout at the end of the season.

To learn more about Indian Motorcycle, please visit their website at http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/en-us.

Tickets and race information for Phoenix are available at www.ArizonaMile.com